Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Choosing your major

Everyday I get to come to work is a blessing, and that is how I want you to feel too.  Imagine if you get to do what you love every day, and you even get money for doing it?!?!  I have been thinking about how to help you get there.

I remember when I used to lose sleep over picking my major. I was paralyzed in fear. I felt like the rest of my life was at stake, and it was as big a decision as getting married, or having children.  Well intentioned people had so many suggestions.  My uncle wanted me to be an accountant, my mom wanted me to go into medicine, my dad though, he asked me: What do YOU want to do? and once I decided he was my biggest cheerleader!

Figuring it out seemed daunting, but it was actually surprisingly simple.  It was not easy, and doubt creeped in occasionally, but it was simple.  In this blog post I will share three tips for choosing a major: 1) know yourself, 2) know the job, and 3) find a cheerleader.

1) Know yourself
There are many personality tests that can help you identify what you enjoy doing, your God given gifts, or tasks that come easy to you.  You should think about taking them.  Some of them cost money but are well established and used often, like the Myers-Briggs personality type test, the DISC assessment, or strength finder.  There are also some free resources to get your started. like the limited free version DISC test, or this quiz.  I am unfamiliar with this college, but sport management ranked 4th, so the quiz is somewhat accurate.  Finally, if you want a quick assessment you can do right now you may want to answer Christy Wright's 5 E questions.
1) What do you ENJOY doing?
2) What comes EASY to you?
3) What do you EXCEL at?
4) What do other people ENCOURAGE you to do?
5) What ENERGIZES you?
You may have more than one answer to each question, but chances are there is something(s) that appears multiple times.  That would be a good starting point.

2) Know the job
My very artsy teen, who is not particularly interested in math would excel as an art major. After doing some research on salaries, he realized he did not like art enough to sacrifice the lifestyle he wants. So he moved on to research professions that "are" better (in his 15 year old mind). So he announced he was going to be an electrical engineer.  When my husband asked him what types of jobs he would do his response was: "I don't know, change lightbulbs?"  Clearly he focused his research on salaries, and paid no attention to course requirements or job descriptions.  Needless to say, electrical engineering got crossed off the list once he realized it went past changing lightbulbs and the amount of math that was going to be involved. Here is what I recommend you to look into when picking a major:
1) Job descriptions - does the job align fit your personality?
2) Course requirements - Do the classes in the major play to your strengths? You can look at your university's undergraduate (or graduate) bulletin for this.  Here is the one for A-State.
3) Potential earnings - Will this job be able to support.your lifestyle?
4) Unemployment rates - This will help you determine how hard it will be to find a job upon graduation.

3) Find a cheerleader - or many!
College can be challenging at times, no matter your major.  You may.get discouraged, doubt yourself, or need a little push.  Sometimes you may not even remember how that major plays to your strengths, or why you thought you would enjoy it. Take a second to think back and talk to people who support you and are in a position to advise you before you drop out or drift off to another major.  Your decisions need to be purposeful and deliberate so you do not graduate not knowing what to do with your degree. If you have any questions reach out, hopefully we (either me or someone in this community) can help.

In conclusion, Choosing a major can be a daunting task.  You need to first try to figure yourself out to the best of your ability, that way you can find a major that plays to your strengths and fits your personality.  Finally, we all doubt ourselves, specially in such important decisions, so surround . yourself with people who know you and can advise you wisely.

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